We're doubling up on fresh faces today as camps open around the league. This series looks at freshmen, redshirt freshmen, transfers or returnees ready to move into much bigger roles this season for each unit on a team.
Let's examine Penn State:
Offense: John Urschel, OG, Soph., 6-3, 284
Urschel emerged as the starting right guard after spring practice and will try to hold onto that this fall while battling DeOn'tae Pannell. Urschel made one start as a redshirt freshman against Indiana. Penn State hopes he can replace Stefen Wisniewski and be part of a more dominant offensive line. As a side note, Urschel is an outstanding student just like Wisniewski. The math major has a 4.0 GPA.
Defense: Kyle Baublitz, DE, Fr., 6-5, 261
Baublitz showed his potential by registering two sacks in the Blue-White spring game. A redshirt freshman who enrolled in January 2010, he could provide depth to a position that is looking for more top-flight contributors. Penn State has seniors Eric Latimore and Jack Crawford at the end spots, but both have had health issues. The Nittany Lions need to develop a more productive pass rush, and Baublitz could push for playing time with a big fall camp.
Special teams: Sam Ficken, K, Fr.
The Nittany Lions need to find a replacement for the departed Collin Wagner at place-kicker. Perhaps Ficken could be that guy. After all, Penn State gave him a scholarship in the 2011 class, which is rare for kickers. Ficken booted a 52-yarder in high school, but he'll have to beat out Anthony Fera and David Soldner this fall.